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School for beginning fresh-market vegetable growers announced

November 13, 2007 By Bob Mitchell

The 2008 Wisconsin School for Beginning Market Growers will be held in January to reveal what it takes to raise fresh produce in expanding markets.

Now in its 10th year, the school will be held Friday-Sunday, Jan. 18-20, at the UW–Madison. Registration for the intensive three-day program costs $275.

"This school has evolved over its 10-year history," notes coordinator John Hendrickson. "At first it was challenging to find materials appropriate for beginning, smaller-scale growers. Today, we have more resources and an experienced team of grower-instructors. Another difference is that we now have broader and deeper opportunities in the marketplace."

The school will be taught by three experienced organic growers: Michael Racette of Barron County, Tricia Bross of Columbia County, and Scott Williams of Dane County. These growers sell their products through farmers’ markets, community-supported agriculture, restaurants and retail stores. Additional speakers will cover topics such as insects and economics.

The school emphasizes organic production methods and direct marketing, as well as fertility management, greenhouses, season extension, pest and disease management, equipment needs and labor. There will also be show-and-tell tables featuring small tools and equipment.

In addition to the School for Beginning Market Growers, a separate Cut Flower Growers School is being offered at UW–Madison on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 9 and 10, at a cost of $195.

The School for Beginning Market Growers is sponsored by the UW–Madison Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems and is open to the public. Enrollment is limited to 35, so those interested are encouraged to sign up soon. For more information about the school or the cut flower growers’ workshop, contact Hendrickson at (608) 265-3704 or